Morning Shootaround — June 19


VIDEO: The San Antonio Spurs celebrate their championship at the Alamodome

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Celts may be on outs for Love | Anthony discusses meeting with Jackson | Young willing to give Lakers hometown discount | West calls Popovich ‘best coach’ he’s ever seen

No. 1: Report: Celtics may be on outs in any Love deals — From the moment Kevin Love visited Boston on vacation a few weeks ago (and shared a brief hello with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo at a Boston Red Sox game), the popular sentiment around Boston was that it had the inside track on landing Love. But according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the team’s chances of landing the somewhat-disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves power forward isn’t looking too hot:

The reality, however, is that this may be not be a blockbuster summer for the Celts. They may very well be left with a slower and steadier option as they seek to rebuild from their most recent run as a contender. And it may be their best choice.

The latest sparkler to be dimmed came when it was learned the Timberwolves are looking at other allegedly more palatable offers than that of the Celtics when considering a trade for Kevin Love. League sources from multiple sides told the Herald that Minnesota is seeking a player of substance as well as draft picks, if they are to part with their best player.

Those same sources cited Golden State and Denver, with others in the running, as well. The Celtics have expressed strong interest in Love, and they will continue working on a package that may entice the Timberwolves. But word is even a selection of picks, led by Nos. 6 and 17 overall this season, and either Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk isn’t going to be enough.

Is there a chance that Minnesota changes its opinion on the type of rebuild it wants to do and begins to look more favorably on the Celtics’ assets? Possibly. But a week out from the draft, the Wolves were hoping for something different.

At this point, the Celts are looking to find out more precisely what it will take to get Love, so they can see if they can cobble together the proper pieces.

“Minnesota looks at it that the team who gets the best player wins the trade,” one source said. “If they do make this deal, they know they’re going to be giving up the best guy in Love. So the picks they get will be nice, but they also want to get back a guy they know can play, a guy with some kind of track record.”

To meet Minnesota’s apparent need, the Celts may have to get more creative and involve at least one other team. If the Wolves are not enamored of what the C’s have to offer for a player, Danny Ainge could try to find such a player on another club and tailor the transaction to get him to Minnesota.

There is all evidence from league sources that the Celtics are already looking at these possibilities.

But all signs point to next week’s draft being the most likely time the Wolves make a move with Love. If they realize they are eventually going to have to build without him, it makes sense to start the process now and take advantage of this draft.

That may also be the Celtics’ position a week from tonight. And it may be the best course of action if they hope to build a team that gets into the championship equation and has the kind of depth to stay there a while.

And, Bulpett also tweeted out these interesting nuggets (if you mind the pun) about Denver getting in the thick of the Love chase …

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No. 2: ‘Melo briefly discusses meeting with Jackson — To the frustration of many NBA fans, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony has been mostly mum on his future this summer and whether or not he’ll stick with New York or sign elsewhere as a free agent. He made some brief comments to reporters on Wednesday night after attending a promotional event in New York, but as Marc Berman of the New York Post reports, there wasn’t a whole lot of news to be had:

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t want to discuss his plans for free agency, but said he had a “great” meeting Friday in Los Angeles with Knicks president Phil Jackson, new coach Derek Fisher and general manager Steve Mills.

At a promotional appearance in Manhattan Wednesday, Anthony told reporters, “It was a great meeting with Phil, it went well.’’

Anthony was also asked about the hiring of Fisher, but he kept it short. “I like what Phil is doing,’’ said Anthony.

The Post reported Knicks brass, including Fisher, were satisfied after the meeting with Anthony and like their odds of retaining him despite a Yahoo Sports report claiming he was “leaning’’ toward leaving and Houston and Chicago were at the top of his list.

Jackson, who is in Turkey to attend his son’s wedding, can offer Anthony a five-year, $129 million max deal. But Jackson doesn’t want to give Anthony the max because it will hurt the team’s 2015 and 2016 cap flexibility. Anthony has already said he’s willing to take a pay cut in order to sign another star or two.

The Post reported the Knicks and Rockets engaged in discussions on a deal for Omer Asik near the trade deadline, with Iman Shumpert one of the pawns. It’s doubtful the Knicks would want to accelerate Anthony’s departure by doing a sign-and-trade with Houston.

Anthony is on record saying his decision will be based on winning titles, but it’s unclear if Houston is that close to a championship in the rugged Western Conference.


VIDEO: Relive Carmelo Anthony’s top 10 plays from 2013-14

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No. 3: Young will opt out of deal, seeks multi-year contract with Lakers — The 2013-14 campaign for the Los Angeles Lakers was anything but fun at times, what with Kobe Bryant being out for all but six games, coach Mike D’Antoni and big man Pau Gasol having their share of tension all season and, oh yeah, a 27-55 finish at season’s end. One of the few bright spots, though, came from the play of swingman Nick Young, an L.A. native who was adored by Lakers fans for his style of play. Young tells the Los Angeles Daily NewsMark Medina that he plans to opt out of his deal this summer, but wants to stay with the Lakers:

Though he considers the Lakers “his first choice,” Young will opt out of his $1.2 million player option before the June 25 deadline. That would allow Young both to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent beginning July 1 and possibly leverage a larger deal with the Lakers. Young sounded specific with what he hoped the Lakers could offer after averaging a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting primarily as a backup forward.

“Just more years. I believe I deserve more,” Young said Wednesday in an interview with this newspaper. “That’s up to my agent to do that for me. The Lakers are home, but things could happen. With free agency this year, it’s going to be crazy to see.”

“I think I could stick to my same role and help out Kobe,” Young said. “He has to come out of the game sometime. If they get another good player, they have to come out of the game sometime. I’ll be their Jamal Crawford. The Clippers have a Sixth Man of the Year. The Lakers need to have one too.”

The Lakers generally like Young for his prolific scoring, positive attitude and entertainment value. Case in point, Lakers Nation, a fan site, promoted a so-called “Stay Swag” campaign that Young called “dope.” But the Lakers feel reluctant to offer any role player, such as Young, more than a one-year deal. The Lakers want to maximize cap flexibility to pursue high profile players, such as LeBron James in 2014, Kevin Love in 2015 or Kevin Durant in 2016.

Young sounded serious about considering a hometown discount.

“It depends how much the discount is,” Young said. “But as a player, everyone wants a place they feel comfortable at. I feel comfortable in L.A. But I can’t keep taking these discounts. I need a raise a little bit. But if it’s for the right cost and they’re bringing in players and I fit into the rotation, then I’ll probably take a pay cut.”


VIDEO: Lakers.com takes a look back at Nick Young’s season

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No. 4: West pays Popovich the ultimate compliment — When Hall of Famer Jerry West says something, people tend to take notice. When West doles out a compliment to a coach — and keep in mind, West employed Pat Riley and Phil Jackson at separate times during his Lakers executive days — it means even more, perhaps. In an appearance on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd, West paid Spurs coach Gregg Popovich perhaps the best compliment yet (especially when you consider West’s pedigree):

Between his Hall of Fame career and his role in building and maintaining multiple championship dynasties with the Lakers, it can be argued that Jerry West is perhaps the single most accomplished individual in NBA history.

At the very least, he knows good basketball when he sees it. And from his standpoint, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has no peer. Speaking today with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio:

“I’ve never seen a better coach than Gregg Popovich. He does less than more. But having said that, when he gets less, he develops it into something really good. They have a great development program down there.

For a coach coming into this league, if they don’t hire people who are really competent, to take these young kids who haven’t made it somewhere but have talent and build a system they can prosper in, but more importantly to get these kids shoot the ball. When they got Kawhi Leonard, he was not a shooter. It tells you the significance of what they’ve done internally to improve their team.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: When he’s a free agent next summer, Grizzlies All-Star center Marc Gasol says he doesn’t want to leave Memphis … It may be the offseason, but Gerald Green is dunking like it’s mid-December … Speaking of the Suns, great feature here by the team’s website on coach Jeff Hornacek‘s rise to prominence … A gambling website says the Cavs have the second-best odds of landing LeBron James this summer … The Bulls might be trying to move their two first-round picks to either move up in the Draft or land a veteran scorer … The Jazz tried to bring Marcus Smart in for a workout four different times, but it never worked out …

20 Comments

  1. IVAN says:

    Is Love really that good? How many games he missed in last tree years? What to say about his defense? Who is to blame for Wolves missing another playoff? Yet he’s the one complaining, and wont’s to opt out. Wolves, trade him for Bosh, get real shooter instead of Martin, and You are in playoff. In Bosh – Love trade everybody wins.

  2. Ms.Sexy says:

    Lebron will never go back to Cleveland Cavs. He will go just to visit that big house his has in Akron Ohio.

  3. I wish the east becomes a little more competitive compared to this year. It looks like the east was minor league and the west was majors. Hopefully the eastern teams make some moves in FA and draft to make it better. Kevin Love to Boston would definitely help.

  4. yogi says:

    All I know is that Lebron James is the best basketball player to play the game

  5. Basketball says:

    Swaggy P loves LA and LA loves Swaggy P. Unfortunately Jim Buss will find some way to mess this up in hopes of drawing a big free agent which is not going to happen. The way the organization has been run since he has been in charge is really nothing to sell to a Lebron, Carmelo etc. Give Swaggy P the money and years he deserves and stop trying to make a splash that just wont happen. You’ll end up with another failed season. ugh

  6. iceynyc says:

    omg the knicks cannot use omer Asik ! oH lord are they trying to win a NBA Championship or waste the players and fans New YorK CiTy Pride. Please find another shooter and a couple ball handlers or can i say point guard & we know The Spurs are not giving up Mills and the Raptors aren’t giving up Lowery either

    • Denholm says:

      knicks aren’t going anywhere with melo on the roster, phil or not, they have auctioned off their future for hopes of winning now, but melo cant be your centrepiece, he is a good complement to a centrepiece but shouldnt be the man.. I hope he goes to chicago or boston

  7. MrHegemony says:

    The Lakers are about to screw themselves…yet again. Holding out to make a run at LeBron, Love, and/or Durant? Well, you can cross LeBron and Love right off that list. So now you’ve got Durant in 2 years, but what about the interim? Kobe’s going to straight up murder Jim Buss before this is all said and done.

  8. Kimmy says:

    I believe Swaggy P will get resigned. But the question is, will he have good chemistry w Kobe Bryant? The Lakers are a joke.

  9. Unkle Daddy says:

    I don’t see Celtics getting Love, or why he would even want to be there at the present time. They are in the middle of a rebuild, if he wanted that he could stay with the Wolves, who could offer him more money and who are closer to making a contender.

    • celtics says:

      You clearly don’t know basketball. The east is a weak conference. Kevin Love has never been in the playoffs before. Why not play with a team in the eastern conference who is guaranteed an easy playoff position. Kevin Love would commit in Boston because the team has financial flexibility to land another super star and key players. Not to mention Boston is a big market. As for the wolves, they are getting the best deal in Boston. Sure they wanna contend, but what will they get in 2nd tier players? The west is difficult to contend in. Staying outside and barely inside the bubble won’t save them. It may save Saunders behind for another 2-3 years. But they won’t win a ring in another 5-8 years for not getting picks a financial flexibility in the long run.

      • Denholm says:

        not to mention the fact that love instantly makes the team better and it makes them a destination for free agents. you get another big name next to rondo and love and in the east hello contender.

  10. Ballin all day says:

    young is underpaid… the lakers better cough up some cash instead of stringing these players along with one year deals..no one will be comfortable like that and a guy who averages 17.0 ppg is best off running with the best free agent offer rather then going through another horrible season with horrible owners who currently don’t know which direction their franchise is heading in….young got some moves too, i think he could get a good 15 mil on the right team.. sign him for like 4 years for 13 mil… thats 3.2 mil a season which would be a fair offer for his talents… He is very arrogant and stupid but talent wise I would like to see teams pay the players who have been carrying loads for their teams..

    • asdf says:

      Or they could give him like a 1 year 7 – 8 million deal, that he would easily sign, Young markets arent that hot as people may think it is, he got alot of flaws, he takes alot of bad shot, he is not a very smart player, not a very good defender either, I dont think contending teams would sign that guy for a high price.

      • Jim McWilliams says:

        As a Pacers fan, I have a suggestion. West (only 2 more years anyway) plus sign Stevenson and trade both for Love.

    • Swayy says:

      Yes Young would be a nice addition 2 stil come off the bench but lets put things in perspective Young was on a bad team and had green light to shoot because the team was bad so I woun give him exactly What he opted oput of a 1 yr deal with player option for 2yr. his 1st yr would be bump to 1.5 mil with a second yr for 2 maybe 2.5 no more than that. What most dont realize Kobe knew Lakers woul be in this position and thats why he took the 2 yr ext for $48 milwith that deal Lakers wouldnt be in contention to get real talent as far as title contenders at best Lakers can build a playoff team but Bryant as much as I admire his Basketball skills want see another NBA final or even a Western conference finals anymore… Jim Buss is not smart when it comes to Baskeball Operations. Everything really went south when he opted to take D’Antoni over Phi which was the stupidest Coaching move I have seen in a long time Next to Dever firing George Karl and Golden State letting go Mark Jackson…..